This thesis project explores the application of Universal Design principles to the development of purpose-built rest and play spaces within United States theme parks that provide places of refuge for children with autism and their families. The goal is to offer ideas on how to create spaces where families and individuals can take a break from the over-stimulation of the traditional theme park environment in an area that has been specifically designed with their sensory needs in mind. Though the target demographic for these spaces is children with autism and their families, the ideas offered to create space will not be limited: these spaces will be available to all theme park visitors, providing a space for young children to play, parents to relax, nurse or feed infants, and adults to recharge throughout the day. The overall design of the space will be informed by Universal Design concepts that promote widespread use by individuals of varying needs, utilizing materials, colors, construction methods and flexibility of use to ensure that the space is as accessible as possible for a diverse user group.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Theatre; Themed Experience
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Leffel, Lindsey, "Sensory Overload: Creating Autism-Friendly Areas In Theme Parks Through Universal Design Principles" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1243.